Iran will stay in the Vienna talks until its demands are met and a "strong agreement" is attained to restore the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran's top security official said on Monday.
"We will remain in the Vienna talks until our legal and logical demands are met and a strong agreement is reached," Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council tweeted.
More than 10 months of talks in Vienna have brought Iran, Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the US, that took part indirectly, close to renewing the landmark Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), from which Washington withdrew in 2018 and reimposed and reinforced tough sanctions on Tehran.
But the negotiations were halted on Friday after Russia, on March 5, demanded guarantees that Western sanctions imposed following its “special military operation” in Ukraine would not damage its relations with Iran.
On Monday, Iran announced that said Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian will head to Moscow Tuesday to discuss Russian demands.
“Russia has made its official demands loud and clear, and this needs to be discussed among all parties to the 2015 agreement, like all the demands that have been presented by other parties,” he said.
The foreign ministers of the parties [to the JCPOA] are in constant contact, and Amir-Abdollahian “will go to Moscow on Tuesday to continue the discussions”, Foreign Ministry spokesman Khatibzadeh said.
Nournews, a news website affiliated with Iran’s top security body, described the foreign minister’s visit to Moscow as “a platform for serious, frank and forward-looking talks” between two countries which have demonstrated that “they can work very closely, decisively and successfully on complex issues”.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has dismissed the Russian demands for guarantees as “irrelevant”, AFP reported.
But on Monday, Khatibzadeh repeated Iran’s position that the move had to come from the US.
“The remaining issues and points between us and the United States need political decisions in Washington”, he said.
“If they [the US] announce that they have made a decision, then all the delegations can return to Vienna” to finalize an agreement, he said.
“We are not at the point of announcing the agreement,” he added.
“We are now waiting for a response from the US side. Consultations are underway at various levels.”
Russia and Iran have seen relations improve in recent years, and Moscow plays a central role in enforcing the 2015 pact, in particular by receiving excess enriched uranium from Tehran.
On Saturday, Britain, France and Germany warned against moves to “exploit” the JCPOA.
“Nobody should seek to exploit JCPOA negotiations to obtain assurances that are separate to the JCPOA,” the British, French and German Foreign Ministries – the three European parties to the negotiations – said in a statement.
“This risks the collapse of the deal, depriving the Iranian people of sanctions lifting,” they added.